How to Become an Auto Mechanic Without School

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Perhaps you know about great tools for a home mechanic to start because you’ve been fixing cars for your family and friends and now want to do it as a profession rather than just a hobby.  

Perhaps you’re still in high school and have little experience working with cars other than driving the family car and enjoying buffing it up like a pro

Either way, you’ll find the following guide helpful in learning how to turn your interest in cars into a well-paying profession as an auto-mechanic. 

What Do Auto Mechanics Do?

As an auto mechanic, you’ll not only work on cars but may also work on motorcycles and small vehicles. You might also specialize in trucks and heavy equipment. 

You might either do maintenance and repairs or specialize in a specific aspect of an automotive work like on-board computers, engines, or brakes. 

You will inspect, troubleshoot, repair, and maintain vehicles. 

You must be familiar with various tools, equipment, and repair machinery, as well as know how to read manuals to follow the manufacturer’s specifications.   

In the past, you did not need to know about computers and software, but now with advances in technology, you will need to have some familiarity to understand a vehicle electrical and mechanical problems.

Is It a Good Career?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers the following facts about automotive service technicians and mechanics: 

* The Median pay is $19.57 per hour, which comes to about  
$40,710 per year  
* You don’t need a postsecondary degree. 
* You can expect short-term on-the-job training when you get your first job.

Do You Need an Education?

You can’t become an auto mechanic with no education at all. You will need some basic education. However, you need not enroll in a vocational education program, a community college training program, or an automobile manufacturers program. 

Most employers will not consider your application unless you at least have a high school education. 

While, of course, some post-high school education would improve your prospects of getting a job, some employers will still accept your application after high school graduation without a college degree or vocational certification if you already know a great deal about automotive repair based on your own experience.  However, you will still have to go through their training program and endure a steep learning curve. 

You may also want to consider getting certification in the future from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) to increase your pay. You will earn more because you will be a specialist in steering, brake systems, electrical structures, heating and air conditioning, or engine restoration. You can also become a master mechanic once you’re certified in all of their automotive specialties.

Will an Employer Train You?

Most garages will give you some type of formal training for auto mechanics. This will last for about two to three months. You’ll work with experts. An automotive helper, a trainee technician, or a lubricant worker might teach you. 

As part of your training, you’ll work as part of a team, as well as do some work on your own.

What If You Have No Education?

Assuming that you want to get a job as an auto mechanic and drop out of high school can still get a job as an auto mechanic?

Yes. 

First, you must get a GED. If you dropped out of high school, you will need to get a GED. The primary reason employers insist you have this basic requirement is because you will have to read different repair manuals for different vehicles as it’s not possible to have an encyclopedic knowledge of all kinds of vehicles. If you don’t follow manufacturer’s guidelines, you could end up ruining expensive engine parts.

What If You Have No Experience?

If you’ve only graduated from high school or got a GED, an employer might hire you if you have some experience in mechanics. However, you are unlikely to even get an entry level position if you have no experience.  
So, assuming you are determined to become an auto mechanic, then you will have to familiarize yourself with car repairs. 

Here are three suggestions on how you can train yourself well-enough to pass an interview: 

1. Start small. Do minor repairs like fixing a scratched windshield; replacing air filters, windshield wipers, headlights, and taillights; and change spark plugs, oil, battery, and brake pads. 

2. Get a mentor. Work with a mentor on easy-to-fix cars like Wrangler Jeep, Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Silverado, and Honda Accord. 

3. Read car manuals. Familiarize yourself with how to read and follow a car manual. Again, focus only on working with easy-to-fix cars. 

In closing, a career as an auto-mechanic offers a good job–one with a great income and benefits. It will be easier to get hired if you have some education and experience, but even if you lack both, you can always acquire enough to get hired by a repair shop.

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